Just Do It

I’ve gotten some interesting feedback lately.

  • “HTML5, why do you want to learn that? You won’t use it here.”
  • “Adobe Captivate 9. We just upgraded to version 8 why do you want to learn version 9? Won’t you get them confused? I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
  • “You’re in a tough situation, you want to learn HTML5 but your company won’t provide you with an opportunity. What are you going to do?”


HTML5 and Captivate 9 aren’t proprietary to any company. There isn’t a switch at Adobe headquarters that turns off Creative Cloud or Captivate at 5 pm local time when the work day is through. There isn’t anything that prevents me from buying my own license and working on these things on my own.

I don’t know why anyone thinks she has to wait for her company to provide her with the right tools or the right opportunity to grow. I’ve been fortunate to have a company that I worked for at the time pay for me to go to ATD ICE and ATD TechKnowledge. I’ve also paid to go to those conferences myself when there was no budget, because I value the experience and what I learned at them. It doesn’t mean that I won’t ask future employers to pay for those types of things since it’s mutually beneficial.

Does it go back to the 70:20:10 rule? This is one of those L&D things that there’s not a whole lot of evidence behind and it means different things at different organizations. I had an old boss tell me that development was 70% me, 20% the opportunities provided to me by the company and 10% coaching. However, sometimes I think development is 100% my responsibility and if the company I work for would like to help out that’s great.

I didn’t learn this on my own. I have a mentor who just so happens to be a rock star instructional technologist and the most patient man on the planet. He has a pretty stubborn mentee. He clued me in to this fact, that I’m in control of my own development – period. I don’t need to wait around for the company to provide me with an opportunity. I can create opportunities for growth myself. Maybe he had to repeat the message a few times because I wasn’t ready to hear it but when I did listen I wound up with a small investment in licenses, a new computer, extra memory and I’m a better instructional designer for it. I invested in myself with a lot of encouragement from Thomas. Would I have realized this on my own? Probably not.

I thought of this today while I was reading the backchannel from the Women Who Code Conference in Seattle. Melissa Milloway tweeted a quote from the leadership panel, “Changing roles and companies is empowering. You realize you are smart and can learn these things on your own.” Everyone has an ah-ha moment. I don’t think this was Melissa’s. She’s always posting links to the cool things she’s building on Twitter but maybe someone who follows her needed to read that quote today. Maybe it’s the day someone decides to download the 30 day trial of Storyline to figure it out?

To borrow the phrase from Nike, Just Do It! If you want to be a better instructional technologist, instructional designer, coder, builder, maker, doer, whatever, don’t wait around for someone to give you permission – Just Do It!

All I know is that I waited for way too long to hear the message.


The Just Do It image is from here.

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